The CFE Fund recently submitted a comment letter to the Federal Reserve Board on Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) modernization. Citing experiences from the Bank On movement, as well as the FECPublic initiative, the CFE Fund recommended that the CRA examination process should credit financial institutions’ provision of safe and affordable banking accounts and support for meaningful financial inclusion efforts.
This issue, Issue 22, provides updates on CFE Fund’s and partner cities’ COVID-19 response efforts.
Since the pandemic began, 31 cities and counties have launched Financial Navigators initiatives to provide phone-based financial triage and resource referrals; 35 municipal Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) partners are offering, or are working to launch, one-on-one financial counseling through FEC programs; and more than 80 Bank On coalitions are working to connect their communities to safe and affordable banking products so they can safely receive and use stimulus payments, unemployment benefits, wages, and more. This issue also features a guest column from Nick Gradisar, the Mayor of Pueblo, CO, highlighting the key role the CityStart and Financial Navigators initiatives have had in Pueblo’s emergency response.
This issue, Issue 21, details how the CFE Fund and our city partners continued to respond to COVID-19. Financial Empowerment Center initiative partners received CFE Fund support to meet increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the CFE Fund continued building out its newest program, the Financial Navigator initiative, to help cities provide remote financial triage and referrals; and the CFE Fund released the 2021-2022 Bank On National Account Standards. In addition, the CFE Fund announced the new cohort of Consumer Financial Protection Initiative grantees, who will focus first on a COVID-19 consumer awareness campaign and then plan for broader consumer financial protection capabilities within the city. This issue also features a guest column from the American Bankers Association (ABA) CEO and President, Rob Nichols, highlighting a recent partnership encouraging ABA partner banks across the country to offer Bank On certified accounts.
This issue, Issue 20, details the CFE Fund’s and city partners’ response to COVID-19. Financial Empowerment Center initiative partners pivoted to remote counseling; the CFE Fund announced a new program, the Financial Navigator initiative, to help cities provide remote financial triage and referrals; and Bank On coalition partners shared information about safe bank and credit union accounts that could be used to receive stimulus and other emergency payments. In addition, the CFE Fund announced the new cohort of Consumer Financial Protection Initiative grantees, who will focus first on a COVID-19 consumer awareness campaign and then plan for broader consumer financial protection capabilities within the city. This issue also features a guest column from the City of Newark, New Jersey’s Mayor Ras Baraka on the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program plans as part of the Summer Jobs Connect initiative.
The updated Bank On National Account Standards identify critical product features for bank or credit union accounts appropriate to those currently outside of the mainstream banking system. Core account features include low costs, no overdraft fees, robust transaction capabilities such as a debit or prepaid card, and online bill pay. Notable changes in the 2019-2020 Standards include allowing paper statement fees that cannot exceed $2 per month, reflecting both costs experienced by financial institution partners and the strong online functionality of certified accounts.
This issue, Issue 15, highlights the findings from the CFE Fund and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ 2017 Bank On Data Pilot; along with new Bank On resources; updates on the scaling of the Financial Empowerment Center initiative under the FEC Public platform; early successes seen from CFE Fund’s CityStart initiative; updates on Consumer Financial Protection efforts; and highlights from the fifth year of the Summer Jobs Connect initiative. It also includes local updates from the CFE Coalition, and a guest column from Daniel Davis, Assistant Vice President and Community Affairs Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
This report, The Present and Future of Bank On Account Data: Pilot Results and Prospective Data Collection, details the Bank On Data Pilot, which collected and measured quantitative data on 2017 Bank On account usage at four pilot financial institutions with certified accounts: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. The CFE Fund partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRBSTL) for this pilot, which reveals the kinds of relevant account data that can be collected, how it might be collected, and what it might show; as well, this pilot highlights the benefits of a central reporting system for financial institutions with Bank On certified accounts and for their coalition partners across the country.
The anonymized dataset at the zip code level is available for download here. Want to play with the data yourself? A newly published Bank On Coalition Playbook Chapter,2017 Bank On Data Pilot: Accessing the Data, details how Bank On coalitions can use the Local Bank On Data Tool to produce reports of this data locally to support their work to expand banking access and the availability of Bank On accounts locally.
The CFE Fund and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis hosted a webinar on this report and the Data pilot. Click here to watch the webinar.
Chapter 10 of the Bank On Coalition Playbook, Programmatic Banking Access Integration Best Practices, outlines the role that Bank On coalitions play in helping develop banking access program integrations.
Chapter 9 of the Bank On Coalition Playbook, Financial Institution Benefits of Bank On National Account Certification, is a handout to be shared with financial institution partners that highlights the key benefits of offering an account certified as meeting Bank On National Account Standards.
Chapter 8 of the Bank On Coalition Playbook, Launching or Relaunching a Coalition, provides guidance and a checklist of critical components for new or newly invigorated coalitions as they look to launch or relaunch their Bank On efforts.
This chapter looks at key moments Bank On coalitions experience during a launch or relaunch and includes detailed guidance for each step –laying the groundwork and planning for coalition success, developing communications and marketing efforts, building relationships with financial institutions, and sustaining momentum after the launch. View the full Playbook here.